The Magu Saga And The Future Of EFCC
Given my professional scepticism, I do not believe everything lawyers trumpet about the innocence of their clients. It is their duty, right even, to polish the facts, twist the law and convince judges that the white colour does not always look white. It could look black and still be accepted as white, not by the colour blind but by judges in the intricate business of dispensing justice. After all, as the late Justice Adesuyin, the first chief judge of Benue State, once asked a lawyer in his court: “Is the law about the truth?”

If lawyers loudly protest the innocence of their clients entangled in the spider web of the law, I instinctively reach for my bowl of sea salt and help myself to a large pinch. It protects me from being sucked into the vortex of facts that are not facts, the irony of justice in search of truth and polished lies that ache the belly.

So, imagine this. Three days ago, as of this writing, I found the sceptical me drawn to the petition to the presidential investigation committee on the alleged mismanagement of EFCC by Ibrahim Magu’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu. The first sentence that hit me in the petition was this: “The charges against our client are trumped-up allegations designed to tarnish the image and rubbish the credibility and image of EFCC which has been stellar and outstanding under our client’s watch.”

I took a pinch from my bowl of sea salt to steady my nerves for the litany of protestations that would follow by Shitttu to persuade the public that Magu is without stain. I have heard that many times in the various courts in the land. I also know that despite such lawyerly protestations of innocence of their clients, the prisons are filled with men and women whose protestations of innocence by their lawyers, well paid or poorly paid, failed to wash in the courts of law.

Shittu specifically listed some sixteen allegations against his client. His response to each of them is that it “is outright falsehood and is denied by our client in unmistakable terms.” Sure thing.

As I read them, I began to worry about where the Magu saga would lead the country, not only in the longest-running war in the country, the anti-graft war, but more importantly about these fundamental problems: One, through the long years of military rule, we were fed with the propaganda that agbada is unclean, khaki is clean. Two, the firm but unfortunate belief that venality among our public officers is the new national creed. Three, our heightened national appetite for scandals and salacious stories about public officers impaled on the tip of the sword.; this is the transmutation of yesterday’s saints into today’s sinners whose sins are like scarlet.

Magu’s lawyer seems to put the blame for making Magu look like a man painted in coal tar on the news media, always the whipping institution when the mud begins to wash off the muddied. But he has a point. The orchestration of guilt in the news media often amounts to trial by the news media; something everyone in trouble with the law detests.

from Nairaland

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